Are your bookshelves overflowing with a mishmash of titles? Do you find yourself spending precious minutes searching for that one specific book you want to read?

If so, it might be time to bring some order to the chaos by organizing your bookshelves by genre.

Organizing your book collection by genre not only makes it easier to find the book you’re looking for, but it also adds a touch of sophistication to your home decor.

Imagine walking into a room where books are neatly arranged and grouped together, creating a visual feast for the eyes.

So, how do you go about organizing your bookshelves by genre?

How to Organize Bookshelves by Genre?

Are you tired of searching for your favorite books on a cluttered bookshelf? Organizing your bookshelf by genre can make it easier to find and enjoy your books.

Whether you’re an avid reader or just starting to build your collection, here are some tips on how to organize your bookshelves by genre.

1. Sort your books

The first step in organizing your bookshelf is to sort your books by genre. Take all your books off the shelf and create piles for each genre.

Some common genres include fiction, non-fiction, mystery, romance, fantasy, science fiction, biography, and self-help.

If you have a large collection, you can further categorize each genre into sub-genres.

2. Create designated sections

Once you have sorted your books into genres, create designated sections on your bookshelf for each genre.

You can use bookends or dividers to separate each section. This will make it easier to locate books within a specific genre.

3. Alphabetize within each genre

Within each genre section, alphabetize your books by the author’s last name or the title of the book.

This will further enhance the organization and make it easier to find a specific book. You can use sticky notes or labels to mark the beginning of each letter of the alphabet.

4. Consider color coordination

If you want to take your bookshelf organization to the next level, consider color coordinating your books within each genre section.

This can create a visually appealing display and add a unique touch to your bookshelf. However, keep in mind that color coordination may make it harder to find a specific book if you rely on remembering the book’s cover.

5. Utilize digital tools

If you have a large book collection or prefer to keep your books digitally, there are various digital tools available to help you organize your books by genre.

Goodreads and LibraryThing are popular online platforms that allow you to create virtual bookshelves and categorize your books by genre.

These tools also provide additional features such as book recommendations and reading progress tracking.

6. Maintain regularly

Organizing your bookshelf by genre is not a one-time task. It is important to regularly maintain and update your organization system as you acquire new books.

Whenever you add a new book to your collection, assign it to the appropriate genre and place it in the correct section on your bookshelf.

7. Personalize your bookshelf

While organizing your bookshelf by genre is practical, don’t forget to add a personal touch to make it uniquely yours.

Display your favorite books or sentimental items alongside your organized collection.

You can also incorporate decorative elements such as plants, bookends, or framed quotes to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your bookshelf.

By organizing your bookshelf by genre, you can save time searching for books and create a visually pleasing display.

Whether you prefer a traditional bookshelf or a digital platform, finding a system that works for you will help you enjoy your reading experience even more.

More: How to Decorate Bookshelves Without Books? (16 Tips + Images)

What are the benefits of organizing bookshelves by genre?

Organizing your bookshelves by genre can bring a multitude of benefits to your reading experience.

Not only does it make finding your favorite books easier, but it also adds a touch of organization and aesthetic appeal to your space.

1. Easy to Find Books

By organizing your books by genre, you can quickly locate the specific book you want to read.

No more wasting time searching through a jumbled mess of books! Whether you’re in the mood for a thrilling mystery or a heartwarming romance, you can easily navigate to the right section of your bookshelf.

2. Discover New Books

When your books are organized by genre, you have a better overview of your collection. This makes it easier to spot gaps in your reading and discover new books within a specific genre.

You might stumble upon a hidden gem or explore a genre you’ve never considered before.

3. Visual Appeal

An organized bookshelf can be visually pleasing and enhance the overall aesthetic of your space.

By grouping books of the same genre together, you create a visually cohesive display. It’s like having your own mini library at home!

4. Enhanced Reading Experience

Organizing your books by genre can enhance your reading experience. It allows you to immerse yourself in a particular genre or switch between genres depending on your mood.

You can create a cozy reading nook with all your favorite fantasy novels or a section for self-help books to inspire personal growth.

5. Share and Recommend Books

When your books are organized by genre, it’s easier to share and recommend books with friends and family. You can quickly locate books to lend or suggest based on their interests.

It fosters a sense of community and opens up opportunities for engaging discussions about your favorite books.

So, whether you’re a book lover or just looking to bring some order to your bookshelf, organizing your books by genre has numerous benefits.

It makes finding books a breeze, helps you discover new reads, adds visual appeal, enhances your reading experience, and facilitates sharing and recommending books. Give it a try and see how it transforms your bookshelf!

More: How to Fit More Books on a Bookshelf? (Is It Possible? YES/NO)

What are the cons of organizing bookshelves by genre?

One of the common ways to organize bookshelves is by genre, which means grouping books that share similar themes, topics, or styles.

However, this method has some drawbacks that may make it less appealing for some readers. Here are some of the cons of organizing bookshelves by genre:

It can be hard to define genres and subgenres.

Some books may belong to more than one genre, or have elements from different genres that are not easy to classify.

For example, is Harry Potter a fantasy or a young adult novel? Is The Hunger Games a dystopia or a science fiction?

Is The Da Vinci Code a thriller or a historical fiction? Depending on how strict or flexible you are with your genre definitions, you may end up with overlapping or inconsistent categories that make it harder to find what you are looking for.

It can limit your reading choices and preferences.

If you organize your bookshelves by genre, you may tend to read only books from the genres that you like or are familiar with, and miss out on books from other genres that may interest you or challenge you.

For example, if you only read romance novels, you may not discover the joys of mystery, horror, or nonfiction books.

By sticking to your comfort zone, you may also reinforce your biases and stereotypes about certain genres, and miss the opportunity to broaden your horizons and perspectives.

It can make your bookshelves look boring and uniform.

If you organize your bookshelves by genre, you may end up with rows of books that look similar in terms of color, size, or design.

For example, if you have a lot of fantasy books, you may have a lot of books with dark covers, dragons, or swords. If you have a lot of romance books, you may have a lot of books with pink covers, flowers, or hearts.

While this may create a sense of order and harmony, it may also make your bookshelves look dull and monotonous, and lack the visual appeal and diversity that comes from mixing different genres and styles.

More: How to Hide Books on Bookshelf? (Why & How are Answered)

What type of bookshelves can be organized by genre?

There are many types of bookshelves that can be organized by genre, depending on your preferences, space and budget. Some common types are:

Standard bookshelves:

These are the most common and versatile type of bookshelves, usually consisting of a rectangular frame with horizontal shelves.

They can be made of wood, metal, plastic or other materials, and come in various sizes and colors.

You can easily organize your books by genre on these shelves, either by using labels, dividers or simply arranging them in groups. Standard bookshelves are suitable for most rooms and can fit a large number of books.

Ladder bookshelves:

These are bookshelves that have a slanted design, resembling a ladder. They usually have wider shelves at the bottom and narrower ones at the top, creating a stylish and modern look.

You can organize your books by genre on these shelves by placing the larger and heavier books at the bottom and the smaller and lighter ones at the top.

Ladder bookshelves are ideal for small spaces and can add some height and dimension to your room.

Cube bookshelves:

These are bookshelves that have a modular design, consisting of multiple square or rectangular compartments that can be stacked or arranged in different ways.

They can be made of wood, metal, plastic or other materials, and come in various sizes and colors.

You can organize your books by genre on these shelves by assigning each compartment to a different genre, or by mixing and matching them for a more eclectic look.

Cube bookshelves are great for displaying your books as well as other items, such as plants, photos or ornaments.

Corner bookshelves:

These are bookshelves that are designed to fit into the corners of your room, making use of the otherwise wasted space.

They can have a curved or angular shape, depending on the style and size of your corner.

You can organize your books by genre on these shelves by placing them in order of preference, popularity or alphabetically. Corner bookshelves are perfect for saving space and creating a cozy reading nook.

Will you need to spend any money while organizing your bookshelves by genre?

Organizing your bookshelves by genre can be a rewarding and satisfying activity, but it may also involve some expenses.

Depending on how many books you have, how much space you have, and what kind of aesthetic you want to achieve, you may need to buy some items to help you sort and display your books. Here are some possible costs to consider:


If you have a lot of books that do not fill up the entire shelf, you may want to use bookends to keep them upright and prevent them from falling over.

Bookends come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and materials, and they can also add some personality and flair to your bookshelves.

You can find bookends online or in local bookstores, craft stores, or home decor shops. The price range can vary from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, depending on the quality and design of the bookends.


If you want to make it easier to find your books by genre, you may want to label your shelves or sections with the name of the genre.

You can use stickers, tags, cards, or signs to create labels for your bookshelves. You can either buy pre-made labels or make your own using paper, pens, markers, or other materials.

Labels can be cheap or expensive, depending on how many you need and how fancy you want them to be.

Baskets or boxes:

If you have some books that do not fit well on your shelves, or if you want to create some extra storage space for other items, you may want to use baskets or boxes to store them.

Baskets and boxes can also help you organize your books by genre, especially if you have a lot of subgenres or mixed genres.

You can find baskets and boxes in various sizes, shapes, colors, and materials online or in local stores.

The cost of baskets and boxes can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, depending on the size and quality of the containers.


If you do not have enough shelves to accommodate all your books by genre, or if you want to create a new look for your bookshelves, you may want to buy some new shelves or modify your existing ones.

You can find shelves in different styles, sizes, colors, and materials online or in local furniture stores.

You can also build your own shelves using wood, metal, or other materials. The cost of shelves can vary from a few dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the size and quality of the shelves.

As you can see, organizing your bookshelves by genre can be a fun and creative project, but it may also require some investment.

Before you start organizing your bookshelves by genre, you may want to set a budget and plan ahead for what items you need and where to get them.

You may also want to compare prices and look for deals or discounts online or in local stores. By doing so, you can save money and enjoy your bookshelves by genre without breaking the bank.

What are some other ways to organize bookshelves?

Besides organizing by genre, there are a plethora of creative ways to organize your bookshelves, ensuring they look beautiful and reflect your personality:

By Author

  • Dedicate shelves to your favorite authors, allowing you to appreciate their complete works in one place.
  • Arrange alphabetically within author sections for easy browsing.

By Color

  • Create a vibrant rainbow effect by arranging books according to their spine color.
  • This method can be particularly captivating for coffee table books or picture books.

By Size

  • Utilize shelf space efficiently by placing larger books at the bottom and smaller ones on top.
  • This creates a visually balanced look and ensures all your books are easily accessible.

By Series

  • Group books belonging to the same series together, ensuring you can easily follow the reading order.
  • This works especially well for fantasy, sci-fi, or mystery series with multiple entries.

By Reading Status

  • Separate unread books from your already-read ones.
  • This helps you prioritize your reading list and keep track of what you’ve finished.

By Mood

  • Arrange books based on the emotions they evoke, like thrillers and mysteries together, or lighthearted comedies grouped with heartwarming novels.
  • This can be a fun way to curate specific reading experiences for different moods.

By Reading Frequency

  • Keep frequently accessed books within easy reach, while placing less-used ones on higher shelves or in less convenient locations.
  • This saves time and effort when searching for your favorite reads.

By Personal Choice

  • Don’t be afraid to get creative and mix and match different organizational methods!
  • You can combine genre and color, size and theme, or create sections based on specific interests like historical fiction or travel narratives.


  • The key is to choose a method that works for you and brings you joy.
  • Feel free to experiment, adjust, and personalize your bookshelf organization to reflect your unique reading preferences and style.

Bonus Tips:

  • Use bookends to keep books upright and add decorative touches.
  • Incorporate small plants, framed art, or other decorative objects to break up the monotony of books.
  • Label shelves with your chosen organization method for easy navigation.
  • Most importantly, have fun and make your bookshelf a reflection of your literary journey!

Final Thoughts – How to Organize Bookshelves by Genre?

Organizing your bookshelf by genre is more than just tidying up; it’s a symphony of stories arranged to your own rhythm.

From the satisfying thud of alphabetized spines to the vibrant splash of color-coordinated rows, each book finds its perfect note, composing a melody of your reading passions.

But remember, dear reader, the conductor of this symphony is you. Don’t be afraid to break free from rigid genre bars and experiment with creative harmonies.

Let author loyalties dance with thematic echoes, sprinkle in personal whimsy, and let your bookshelf evolve as your reading journey unfolds.

For in the end, the most beautiful bookshelf is not one dictated by strict rules, but one that reflects the unique music of your literary soul.

So go forth, organize with joy, and let your shelves sing the vibrant song of your reading life!


What if I have limited space for my books?

No worries! Even small collections can benefit from genre organization. Utilize risers or corner shelves to maximize space, prioritize frequently read genres, and consider digital options for lesser-used books.

How do I deal with oversized books or irregular shapes?

Adjustable shelves are your friend here! Adapt spacing to accommodate diverse book sizes, or dedicate specific shelves for larger volumes or unique shapes. You can even get creative with decorative boxes or display stands to showcase special editions.

I love reading multiple genres! How can I keep things organized?

Embrace hybrid approaches! Group adjacent genres on shelves, like combining fantasy and sci-fi, or use sub-genre categories within broader sections. You can also color-code spines within genres for additional visual cues.

I’m afraid my organization might look messy or cluttered.

Start small and focus on one section at a time. Experiment with different arrangements, use bookends for visual anchors, and incorporate decorative elements like plants or artwork to break up the space. Remember, your own reading journey is beautiful – so embrace its unique flow on your shelves!

My shelves are overflowing! What should I do?

Time to declutter! Donate books you no longer enjoy, lend them to friends, or consider digital copies for rarely used titles. This frees up space for organizing your cherished reads and makes the whole process more manageable.

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